Welcome back to the arraignment briefing. In an unprecedented vote, President Trump was impeached for the second time.
What happened today
The House impeached President Trump for inciting a violent insurgency against the United States government, a week after a crowd of his supporters stormed the Capitol.
The vote was 232-197, with 10 Republicans joining fellow Democrats in impeaching – the most ever from a president’s own party. Just over a year ago, Republicans voted unanimously against Mr. Trump’s impeachment. See how each representative voted.
A Senate trial is likely to begin after the inauguration. Outgoing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated he will not begin Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial until President-elect Joe Biden takes office.Here is a guide on how the process works.
What lawmakers said
The House met again on Wednesday afternoon for a series of hours of speeches from lawmakers. Here is how some have argued for or against impeachment.
“Donald Trump is a to live, to breathe an impenetrable offense. – Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York.
“I won’t use the process as an excuse. There is no excuse for President Trump’s actions. – Rep. Dan Newhouse, Republican from Washington, and one of 10 in his party to vote to impeach Mr. Trump.
“They might have been looking for Pence and Pelosi to organize their coup, but each of us in this room right now could have died.– Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland.
“Some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There is absolutely no proof of this. And the Conservatives should be the first to say so.– Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and Leader of the Parliamentary Minority.
“It is capable of starting a civil war.– Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California.
“If we have removed every politician who gave a fiery speech in front of a group of supporters, this Capitol would be empty. – Representative Tom McClintock, Republican of California.
“Today we are on the long road to restoration. America has been through civil war, world wars, great depression, pandemics, McCarthyism and now a Trumpist and white nationalist insurgency. And yet our democracy endures. – Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California.
“Almost half the country supports our current president. It takes away their voice.– Representative Jeff Van Drew, Republican of New Jersey.
“Democrats can say, ‘You know, there must be unrest in the streets,’ when there is unrest in the streets. But they are going to remove the president for having said peacefully and patriotically: “Make your voice heard”.– Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio.
“We said if we didn’t take him out he would do it again. Quite simply, we told you. Richmond out. – Representative Cedric Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana.
What the second indictment means
I asked my colleagues Julie Davis, who edits our coverage of Congress, and Carl Hulse, a longtime congressional reporter, what tagged them about this second presidential dismissal.
JULIE: It was really clear that there was a big rift between Republicans. A number of them stood up and vigorously defended the president and pissed off Democrats for doing this, but most didn’t really try to excuse his behavior – they just argued that impeachment didn’t was not the solution.
Even the party leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, basically said that the President had done wrong and deserved the consequences for what happened. They themselves sensed the political danger of appearing to endorse what Trump did. And yet, most of them still didn’t think it was politically safe to vote to impeach him. Part of this could be because the president no longer has a Twitter feed. It’s easier to speak out against him when you don’t expect a massive wave of presidential tweets.
What was also striking was that, by a factor of two, you had the greatest margin of the president’s own party to support his impeachment.
There was also so much symbolism today. This was all happening in a heavily fortified Capitol crawling with the National Guard, a week after the riot and a week before Biden was sworn in. The garland was up and the brass had been polished for the inauguration. They beautify the building in all the ways you do in anticipation of a fresh start. And yet, here, they went about their business with those armed troops there to protect them from the staunch supporters of the outgoing president.
CARL: The two sides are so far apart. It seems like an insurmountable divide. There was so little common ground even after an event like the riot. This makes me wonder what might lead the parties to find common ground.
One dynamic that really stood out to me today was that Republicans did not want to abandon Donald Trump, even after he instigated an attack on Capitol Hill. In the House, there is a great reluctance to abandon Trump. Their voters are Trump voters. House districts are different from all of the states that senators represent. And I don’t think those House Republicans are necessarily afraid of Trump; I just think they agree with him.
The fact that House Democrats were able to impeach the president in two days also makes me wonder if impeachment will be common when a political party is not happy with the president. There was certainly room for them to act against the president here. But the precedent has lawmakers I speak to very alarmed.
The scene inside the Capitol
My colleague Emily Cochrane, who was present during the riot last week, encountered a shocking scene when she got to work this morning: the United States Capitol, filled with troops. She told me what she had seen.
Since last Wednesday, they have been slowly stepping up security. Fencing has gone around the Capitol. This morning, the closer we got to the building, the more it seemed like things had changed overnight. It seemed that the National Guard’s presence had doubled.
As I passed through security on the side of the Capitol House – one floor below where lawmakers themselves began to walk through magnetometers last night – the first sight I got were members of the National Guard asleep. on the marble floors, some wrapped around the statues, others hidden behind them. It was surreal.
Someone said, “Alright, guys – time to get up, time to get up.” Their guns were propped up on the floor and against the wall, some of them resting on top of their bodies as they slept. There was a line of two dozen members of the National Guard waiting for breakfast at a self-service station. In the Capitol reception center, they were spread out everywhere. It was as close to a militarized Capitol as I could have imagined.
Last Wednesday I was in the House and heard the rioters trying to enter. I saw guns drawn. I knew there was a breach. But it’s really only afterwards, when you step back and see the photos on the other side of the building, that it really does realize how much worse it could have been. It underscored how dangerous it was last Wednesday and how dangerous things could still get. They are bracing for the possibility of something happening again.
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